GPs got ‘little in the way of good news’: Spring Budget 2024

7th March 2024 by NASGP

GPs got ‘little in the way of good news’: Spring Budget 2024

There was ‘very little in the way of good news for general practice’ in this week’s Budget announcement, the chair of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants (AISMA).

“While there will be small gains at a personal level for individual GPs and their staff through cuts to National Insurance contributions, there was no commitment to providing desperately needed additional funding for primary healthcare services,” Deborah Wood said. “The financial sustainability of many GP partnerships is consequently under threat.”

Self-employed GPs will see a 2p cut in their Class 4 NICs for earnings between £12,570 and £50,270. With the abolition of Class 2 NICs announced in the Autumn Statement, they will also see an additional saving of around £179 a year. Salaried GPs earning more than £50,270 a year will benefit from an additional £754 a year as a result of the 2p cut in National Insurance contributions (NICs).

The budget arrives on the heels of a ‘disappointing’ GP contract, the board of AISMA announced.

“This is the third year running when uplifts in the value of the GP contract have been significantly below inflation,” Andrew Pow, board member of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants said. “Practices will need to look carefully at staffing costs and maximise the use of the ARRS scheme. In a year of a general election this could be viewed as kicking the can down the road.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “The lack of any attempt to even try to match inflation is both worrying and frustrating, especially in the advent of an election when we might otherwise reasonably expect the government to be bending over backwards to address the GP funding crisis.

“And with AISMA acknowledging the need for practices to maximise the use of ARRS funding, this news throws shade on the hope that practices will start using GP locums at similar levels to 2023.

“There is even more reason now for pressure to be put on Government to allow the money allocated to ARRS funding to be used in a way how practices best feel they know the money can be used most effectively and efficiently.”

Find out what the Spring Budget means for GPs with Liz Densley’s in-depth analysis.

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